The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Clean out your damn desk.

"Clean out your damn desk" has been on my to-do list for roughly three months. It's technically not even off the list now because I only did a cosmetic job of it this morning. The drawers still lurk, over-full with maybe-dry pens and maybe-dead batteries and maybe-expired gum and maybe-salvageable post-it's been a decade-long dumping ground. You can see why I hesitate to dig in.

This morning, though, I went through the pile of papers on the surface and found the check I'd been meaning to deposit and the clothes I'd been meaning to exchange and the books I'd been meaning to shelve for a few weeks. I came across some half-full notebooks from ages past--I'd actually dug those up a few months ago in attempt one to clean out my damn desk, distracted myself thoroughly with the reading of them, and never put them away. Fortunately, that meant I had no interest in them today and was not similarly derailed. Putting them away, though, I found 7 empty journals I'd acquired over the years as gifts (and as unmet-goal purchases). I seem like a person who journals, I guess. All blogging evidence to the contrary, I am not really a person who journals. Amanda introduced me to the five-year journal, where you write just three lines a day for five years. I couldn't even keep that up consistently, and gave it up completely after like two-and-a-half. I have intentions of starting fresh in a new one this January 1. We'll see.

If you know my reading habits, you know that the stop-and-start journals are in good company. I found three books I'd begun reading and never finished--that means I'm wading in seven right now. I picked one and brought it with me to Pannikin this morning in order to dive back in. It's glorious. I'm not normal.

It's the inspiration for the post, though. I've been reading a lot lately: a few clever memoirs, powering through all six of John Green's novels (two halves to go!), and some non-fiction essay anthologies. I've been sort of uncharacteristically deep-novel-less. What I mean is that while John Green's novels have deeply influenced me--The Fault in Our Stars influenced my relationship with Jonathan literally overnight--they are young adult novels, and therefore aren't bursting with fanciful sentences like "The lamp hissed in the silence of the room, eloquent looks ran up and down in the thicket of wallpaper patterns, whispers of venomous tongues floated in the air, zigzags of thought..." that close a chapter, ellipses and all. I've re-entered Bruno Schulz' Street of Crocodiles, the impetus of Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes, which I wrote about here.

The authors I've spent the summer and entered fall with--John Green, Rachel Held Evans, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Dave Hickey, Terry Eagleton, Elias Khoury--just haven't spoken to me in this manner. And in case you're somehow still curious as to how I feel about the act of reading, it is precisely these varieties and vagaries of literature that keep me alive.


Two Alexes Are Better Than One Alex -- A&A 10/4/14